Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fettucine with Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Olives

We went to the farmers' market again yesterday and got more of the same lovely arugula that was abundant last weekend.

This is a dish I've made before for myself, but this was the first time I made it for Andy, too.

First, let me say that I am officially spoiled by always having fresh pasta these days. I love my pasta machine so much! It is like having a craft class and a cooking class all in one. Today I made whole wheat fettucine for the first time, and it turned out great! Much better tasting than the dried stuff in the store. Whole wheat pasta is such a healthy choice, but the dried stuff in the store tends to have a rather cardboard-ish texture. But our fresh stuff was springy and supple! Look.

Start a pot of pasta water to boil.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola oil, take 2 onions, slice them thinly and caramelize them in a big pan. When the onions are limp and becoming translucent, you can add a slosh of sherry or medeira if you have it, which I didn't so I sprinkled a little sugar to help the caramelization along.

Add a couple thinly sliced cloves of garlic toward the end. Then I added about a cup of halved and pitted calamata olives.

I don't usually use olives in this recipe. Normally I use dried shitake mushrooms that I've soaked in warm water, but the grocery store did not have the shitakes so I improvised with the olives. I actually recommend the shrooms over the olives--better flavor balance--so whichever thing you have, add it to the onions and garlic to heat through.

Your pasta water should be boiling rambunctiously by now. Tip the pasta in and cook it. If it's fresh, that will only be a couple of minutes. If you use dry pasta, just cook it until it's to your liking. Drain it when it's done, and add it to the pan of onions. Then put in the arugula. I use probably 6 or more cups of arugula--it's like any other green in that it really cooks down. I barely cut it up before I add it--just a few broad cuts across the whole mound. Place the pile of lovely arugula on top of the pasta and gently toss the whole mess to incorporate. The arugula will wilt from the heat of the other stuff.
As you mix the mess together, drizzle another couple of tablespoons of your absolute best olive oil and several generous spritzes of balsamic vinegar for some bite. Finally, sprinkle generously with fresh ground pepper.

I must say, the olives were a bit bossy in the flavor balance. The shitakes are a much better balance with the other ingredients, if you ask my humble opinion. But overall, it was pretty tasty and nice to look at, too.


JB said...

Oh my. I want that really badly!

pnlkotula said...

Robyn, will you join me in a big olive BLECH??!!

Janine Serresseque said...

Yes, I knew Lisa would veto this one. Does Robyn hate olives, too? I knew she hated mashed potatoes--I KNOW, have you ever heard of such a thing? And Lisa doesn't like her food to touch the food next to it on the plate. Lisa, if you ever want to be my guest, I love the story of the shepherd's pie.

pnlkotula said...

I will do a shepherd's pie write-up for you. And really, I recently tried to like olives, but I just don't. I've been going through a lot of the things I was picky about as a child and trying them as an adult to be sure I don't like them. I've discovered a few things that I really DO like now: avocado, roasted red peppers, onions...My palate is growing a bit, but I fear it will never include olives.

Janine Serresseque said...

I don't like any fish or seafood, and like you and olives, I know I never will. When I was a kid, I loved my daddy's tuna salad. Then I somehow made the connection that the stuff in a can called "tuna" was fish. I instantly hated it, and the smell makes me gag to this day!

JB said...

Mashed potatoes? Really?
You people are freaks.

JB said...

PS - but I love you anyway.
...and I secretly WISH I hated mashed potatoes.